Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coke sued over VitaminWater claims

The Center for Science in the Public Interest today announced it is suing the Coca-Cola Co.

At issue is what the nutrition advocacy group calls "deceptive" claims about the company's VitaminWater line of drinks.

The Washington-based group is accusing Coca-Cola of selling what is says is basically sugar water by claiming it has vitamins that boost immunity and reduce the risk of disease. It said the health benefit claims Coca-Cola makes are "nonsense."

The suit was filed as a class action in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.

Coca-Cola bought Glaceau's VitaminWater for $4.1 billion in June 2007. Since the acquisition, sales have improved by a double-digit percentage in the third quarter.

"It truly shocks the conscience that a company like Coke would try to keep customers by selling them a soft drink and telling them it's a vitamin," said Stephen Gardner, director of litigation for the group.

Coca-Cola did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The same advocacy group sued MillerCoors last fall to stop the brewer from selling Sparks, an alcoholic energy drink. Last month the company agreed to remove some stimulants from its formula.

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